FILLED WITH INDIGNATION
Acts 5:17 Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation, 18 And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison. 19 But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, 20 Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life. 21 And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought. 22 But when the officers came, and found them not in the prison, they returned, and told, 23 Saying, The prison truly found we shut with all safety, and the keepers standing without before the doors: but when we had opened, we found no man within. 24 Now when the high priest and the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these things, they doubted of them whereunto this would grow. 25 Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people. 26 Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned. 27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, 28 Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.
One must be very careful concerning an insincere affiliation with the Lord Christ and his gospel! 2 Peter 2:21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. 22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire. For it is impossible after being once enlightened, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. (Heb. 6:4-6).
For those who hear the gospel and believe not set themselves up for the god of this world to blind their minds. And then the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, may never shine unto them again! (2 Corin. 4:3-4). For then their nature is forevermore seen, as Peter has instructed in the above passage, as that of dogs and sows, but never as God’s sheep.
The missing note in religion across our nation is that Jesus of Nazareth has regained the crown rights and the dominion that was lost by sin in the first Adam! God did at one time wink at the ignorance of mankind in the old economy. But now that Jesus Christ has come and dealt with sin, he has sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high! (Hebrews 1:3). For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. (1 Corin. 15:25). And since satisfying the Father at the cross, (Isaiah 53:11), he does not now just “invite” sinners to bow before him, he “commands” them to! Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: 31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
Let us notice in the verses surrounding our text that there were many fillings of human souls by supernatural powers. For of the entire company of the believers it is said, (Acts 4:31), that they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, with the evidence of preaching God’s word boldly. And in Acts 5:3 we find that it was well said to Ananias that Satan fill thine heart. The same had happened to Sapphira, his wife, for Peter exposes her as having agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord. (5:9). Then we come to our lesson title. For the Sadducees were filled with indignation! (Also even Jerusalem was filled with the doctrine of Christ! v.28).
The Hebrew writer warns us to therefore fear as we consider such examples in the Old Testament who did not have a proper belief in the Lord. For he writes, For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. (Heb. 4:2). And then he instructs, they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: (Heb. 4:6).
Dear soul, there is a filling of the Holy Spirit, but there can be a filling of an unholy spirit as well for those who are but insincere listeners to the blessed gospel of Christ! And being filled with a “jealous envy” (which is the meaning of that word, indignation), against the believers of the Lord is a terrible condition in which to meet the Sovereign Lord! It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Heb. 10:31).
But just what was the issue of the Sadducees? Just what was it that they so much hated as the cause of placing the Lord’s Spirit-anointed apostles in prison? A clue is found in verse twenty eight listed above. For from the fury of their hearts their mouths revealed that it was “your doctrine!” But what was this doctrine that so greatly offended these religious rulers? Here are a couple of verses that will reveal the issue: Luke 20:27 Then came to him certain of the Sadducees, which deny that there is any resurrection; and they asked him, Acts 23:8 For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both. They despised the preaching of the resurrected Lord!
But that was the very heart of the apostles preaching! In every message we have thus far studied in this book, the doctrine of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is the main theme! This was very annoying to these elite, aristocratic Sadducees! And the other two things we found out about them is that they also denied angels, and spirits!
And that really placed them in quite an uncomfortable position! For this entire matter is derived from the Lord Christ arriving back at the right hand of the Majesty on high and sending the Holy SPIRIT! And then, all of a sudden for the very first time in the Book of Acts the word “angel” appears on its pages! Look back up to verse nineteen and see its first appearance.
So the Sadducees, who had been allowed by God to rule as high priests in Israel, were now being “squeezed out” by God in his providing all three things they are on record as hating – spirits, angels and the resurrection! Be assured, dear ones, those who have been tolerated by God in times gone by, but are now abusing their station for their own selfish reasons, are soon to be eliminated!
Ezekiel 34:8 As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock; 9 Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; 10 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them.
And in the following verse their very hearts are exposed: John 11:47 Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. 48 If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation. They were not concerned with the souls under their care! They were only concerned about losing their lucrative positions and their powers of influence which they selfishly enjoyed under Roman rule!
Dear heart, the word “angel,” nor the word “spirit,” nor especially the glorious doctrine of the resurrection do never fail throughout the remained of our bibles! But guess which word does quickly fade away? – “Sadducees!” For after that verse of Acts 23:8, quoted above, the word “Sadducees,” never again appears on the pages of God’s word! 1 Tim. 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
Men should be extremely careful in seeking to establish themselves, their opinions and attitudes over the Lord’s people. Pastors are to be servants, not lords regarding the Sovereign Christ’s people. They are to be helpers of the flock’s joy, not causing them grief due to their mistaking their own prejudice for the Spirit’s conviction! 2 Corin. 1:24 Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand. 1 Peter 5:3 Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.
We must remember that Christ himself, in order to be the greatest among us, became the least, in becoming a servant to all! Matthew 23:11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. 20:28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
For imposing one’s religious prejudices upon a people derived from traditional religious prejudices, and not from the Holy Spirit, renders all so-called “worship” in vain! Matthew 15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
The other part of the Sadducees’ expressed indignation towards the true preachers of Christ was, “you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” (Acts 5:28). In this, because they feared the people (v.26), they couldn’t bear for Peter to keep preaching that they not only failed to identity Messiah, but that they actually murdered him! And as the people, under the influence of the Spirit-anointed gospel, came to know the truth, that truth set them free from the legal bondage of the Sadducees’ deceptions! For the Lord’s true people owe no allegiance to any man who does not protect their liberty in following Christ. They owe no allegiance to those practicing priestcraft in order to keep their hearts and minds in religious bondage!
Remember, dear reader, two men left out of Egypt to cross the Red Sea. The first one (Moses) followed God and made it safely on dry land to the distant shore. But the other (Pharaoh) followed a man and was drowned! And even the great Apostle Paul clearly preached that no one should even follow him except as he followed Christ! 1 Corin. 11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. Galatians 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
But lest we forget, let us consider another passage which concerns the blood of Christ being brought upon them. Matthew 27:24 When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. 25 Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.
It was “the people” who asked this! But look back up farther in this chapter and see how this came to be! Matt. 27:20 But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. It was these chief priests who incited the people to cry out for this because of their own selfish purposes!
And how was this handled in the court of heaven? In the same way all God’s elect sinner’s are handled! Christ interceded for them, so that his blood would forever be upon them, but only for their redemption! Luke 23:34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. Revelation 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
For this is their present praise, and shall be forever! Revelation 5:9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; 10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
“There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Immanuel’s veins;
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains!”
William Cowper 1731-1800
Let us then be careful with our souls! For the approval and prestige of man shall matter little if we come to dwell in eternal darkness, separated farther recourse from the light of the glory of God! John 5:44 How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?
Religion is a powerful matter! It can be used of the Holy Spirit to make you one with God Himself! But misused by an unholy spirit, you can wind up highly religious, but eternally lost! Mark 7:7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. 8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. 9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.
Pastor Gene Breed